What Not To Include – Save the date cards should not be used to provide detailed information about the event itself. This is not the time or place to discuss the rehearsal dinner, the reception, or the ceremony. It is inappropriate to include registry information as well. Guests who are interested in registry information can contact you themselves, or they can wait until the actual wedding invitations are sent out. Response requests are also not included. These notices are merely a courtesy ’heads up’ to your long distance guests and others who may require, for personal, professional, or medical reasons, some advance notice.
Planning and Sending – Once you know all of the basic details about your wedding plans, place your order with your stationer. As with invitations, having these cards printed can take up to several weeks, so give your stationer plenty of time. You can mail these cards out up to six months before the wedding date. Save-the-date cards can be designed to match the rest of your wedding stationery and ordered at the same time, or they can have a completely different look.
Rules & Etiquette – Again, few rules apply. The only information you must include is your names and wedding date, although I suggest including location information as well so wedding guests can begin their travel plans. Aim to send save-the-date cards soon after you secure your date and venue, or about 4-6 months prior to your wedding. Remember, everyone who receives a save-the-date also receives an invitation, so have your guest list finalized prior to sending them. You can, however, always add guests later (there is no rule that says everyone must receive a save-the-date card). Although formal replies are not required, you can get preliminary attendance estimates through word-of-mouth.
Your save-the-date can take any size or form. If you decide on mailing cards out, then your cards can be the size of a postcard, or even smaller. Make sure the size does not cramp the wordings together.
You may also consider doing customized printing on objects that will grab attention. For example, a pinwheel or a fan.